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Perfectly Timed Photo Shows Singing Blackbird Creating Vortex Rings with His Breath



As any wildlife photographer will tell you, patience is key when photographing birds. Amateur bird photographer Kathrin Swoboda’s patience and persistence paid off with her shots of a male red-wing blackbird in song, creating ‘smoke rings’ with his breath in the cold morning air.

On a chilly morning in March this year, Swoboda, took her camera gear on a mission specific to photograph the male red-wing blackbird. Her destination, Huntley Meadows Park, an island in Virginia known for its wetlands and abundant wildlife. “Specifically,” Swoboda told My Modern Met, “I wanted to photograph their breath, which when expelled would condense in the cold air.”

She soon found a willing and very vocal subject perched on a branch, enthusiastically singing to attract a potential mate and thanks to the cold morning air forming the ‘’smoke rings’’ she came to capture. The cold air and by using the sunrise as back lighting captured the blackbird’s ‘’smoke’’ song so beautifully, you can almost hear it!  Don’t you just love it! The judges at Audubon did too, Swoboda won the grand prize in the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards.

Of course, the singing blackbird is now her most famous photograph but you’ll able to see her photographs of many other birds species on her website.

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